New tank, all levels perfect except Phosphate!?!?

BioMan

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Hello,
I recently took over a 120 gallon Fish only system (an eel, giant lion fish & biggest Nemo Ive ever seen) and set it up at my home and donated the fish to my local fish store. I did a 50% water change with their water which I know is always good yet I've got nothing in the tank for a week and the phosphate levels are 5.0 color in my test kit. every other level I test is perfect ie 0 Nitrite, 0 Nitrate, 470 calcium etc.. I want to make this a reef tank so what should I do besides change the water again like the fish store guys told me?
I do want to remove the bio balls from the sump before adding fish, will research the best sump setup after I post this.
 

Boomer

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Before you race off doing anything, test some freshly made seawater or that stores water to make sure you have levels that high. Sine there is nothing in the tank, do a 100 % change and use a gravel tumbler to remove any lose material / detritus. I do not buy you had what would have been 10 ppm phosphate. What test kit are you using and are you sure that 5 is 5 ppm or is that 5 really 0.5 ppm ?
 

BioMan

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Before you race off doing anything, test some freshly made seawater or that stores water to make sure you have levels that high. Sine there is nothing in the tank, do a 100 % change and use a gravel tumbler to remove any lose material / detritus. I do not buy you had what would have been 10 ppm phosphate. What test kit are you using and are you sure that 5 is 5 ppm or is that 5 really 0.5 ppm ?
Its and API master reef all in one test kit. I put the drops in then put more drops in wait...Tested my other tank and the color is always very light, i think yellow... but the 120gal matches up blue at the 5.0 down at the bottom of the card.
In my sump I have 2 sacks of carbon on top of the bio balls thats in the first section, then it flows to the return pump where a protein skimmer is as well
 

Boomer

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Ok, your kit range is 0-10 ppm. So, that tank is loaded with phosphate. A 100 % WC should bring you below 1 ppm maybe. You need to get some GFO or you will be doing another 100% WC. You also need a new phosphate test kit that tests more on the order of 0-1 ppm. We like levels ~ 0.03 ppm or lower ( <-- this is not a typo error).
 

BioMan

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I've been running it with just the sand, rock and water for a week,,I dont think the guy that helped me put the tank together knew what he was doing I just read not to put the carbon bags in with the bio balls,,,I'll pick up that GFO today,,no rush I'll take my time
 

BioMan

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You should remove the bio balls they will give you problems down the road. Also carbon and GFO work best in up flow reactors.
so this is what I'm doing when I get outta here, Im grabbing some GFO, a couple lbs of live rock and some carbon.
Going home to remove the bioballs, and put the rock and chaeto in that section then GFO and Carbon in the second station..? Am I right?
 

Buck0land

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Removing the bio ball and add live rock may make your system have a mini cycle. Which is fine.

Running GFO and carbon passively will work for now but it's rather inefficient.GFO and carbon work best in reactors. Make sure to rinse the GFO and carbon in RODI or destilled water before putting them in you tank.
 

BioMan

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I just bought some GFO and put it inside 2 little fish reactor and installed it. I also swapped out the dirty Petrie dish they tried to pass off as filter Floss for a carbon pad.
 

BioMan

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It's been 5 days, I've installed 2 two little fishies 150, 1 with carbon the other GFO, siphoned all the sand of any small pieces of rock or lion fish spikes that were there (a lot do those things shed) removed bio balls and put about 30 lbs live rock in the sump and 80 in the tank, replaced 50 gallons of water and I have tested everything this morning twice. Here are results:
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-0
Calcium-440-480(2 drops at a time)
Carbonate- 11DKH
PHOSPHATE-b/w 1 & 2 on the card
Temp 78*f
Hydrometer-1.024

What should I do next?
 

Buck0land

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Have you tried a different PO4 test kit? Also test the water coming out of the GFO reactor. It should be at 0 if the GFO is still good.

What was you PO4 reading before add the GFO? How much did you use in the reactor?
 

BioMan

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I used an entire small container of GFO in the reactor setting was slow roll. 1 week. It was close to 10.0 it was so dark using the API reef master kit. A Day after running GFO I tested and it matched with a light green where it's been ever since. I'll test the water coming out in a few. I really wonder if the sand is bad being 5 years old and filled with all that fish junk I strained out that's why I'm thinking about mixing a new bag of sand in. Will GFO get used up in a week?
 

BioMan

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I tested the water coming from the reactor and the tank water again, this time I was able to distinguish the two and more easily compare to the card.
Tank water is 2.0
reactor water is 1.5
 

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